WMKY

Rounder Records

Sep 1, 2016

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Muddy Bottom Blues

Program #77 (September 2 at 8:00PM)

Rounder Records began in 1970 as a collective enterprise by three college friends, passionate music lovers all, to record, preserve, and pioneer the development of roots music and its contemporary offshoots.  It was not originally intended to become a business, all three Rounder Founders had other careers in mind, but the reception their first releases earned drove the trio to do more. As one often said, “It was like a hobby that got out of control.” In their third year alone, they released 19 albums. 

The three sought out the best musicians in various fields, they had already expanded into blues and other genres and also pursued quirky projects, such as documenting the Old Time Hollherin’ Contest in Spiveys Corner, North Carolina.

Rounder made the first albums of numerous artists including Alison Krauss, George Thorogood, Mark O’Connor, Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck, and many more.  The three founders hired talented staff and built a company that was good at publicity, promotion, and sales, and over the years, many artists have made Rounder their label home, some never seeing any reason to leave.

Rounder both produced its own records and distributed the offerings of many other labels (at one point, over 450 independent labels) and was instrumental in forming an early trade organization, but the company remained fiercely independent, weathering many changes in the music business.

Acquired by the Concord Music Group in 2010, Rounder continues to work with many of the artists who have found a home with the now-venerable label while adding new relationships with Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, J.D. McPherson, and many more.  In 2014, the company moved its headquarters to Nashville.

Rounder albums have won more than 40 Grammy Awards, the most recent being Best Bluegrass Album of 2014 (The Earls of Leicester), and in 2008 the Alison Krauss/Robert plant album Raising Sand won both Best Album of the Year and Best Record of the Year, something only accomplished once before by an independent label – Concord.

The vast Rounder Records catalogue includes much of the finest bluegrass, acoustic music, blues from New Orleans and Memphis, singer/songwriters, and alternative music that has stood the test of time.

(story provided by Rounder Records)